Summer is in full swing now: late-night campfires, road trips, BBQs and community celebrations. It’s a fun time, but all good things come to an end. Before you know it, you’ll be facing the upcoming semester. There’s no need to let it take you entirely by surprise – with a little bit of prepping, you can be totally prepared for the start of your first class. Upper Iowa University is here to give you this blog post filled with some of the best prep tips.
Collecting all your textbooks can be a difficult task. Purchasing them directly from a website or bookstore can be pricy, but that isn’t necessarily the only option you have. First, make sure it’s a required textbook. If it’s recommended or discretionary, then it’s not a priority. If possible, check with your professors to see if an older, cheaper edition will work. Consider purchasing a Kindle or iPad, or using a Kindle app for Mac or PC, in order to get a cheaper, digital version. Some textbooks allow you to rent it for the semester, which is an even cheaper option. Finally, ask other students, upperclassmen will often sell their books for a fraction of the price, especially over the summer when demand is less. With a bit of prep, you can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars over the years!
Get a good idea of how much time you’re going to need to carve out of your life for studying on a daily and weekly basis. For every hour in class, it is estimated that you should put in one to three hours of work. So if you meet for three hours a week, you should spend three to nine hours outside of class preparing and studying. This will easily balloon into a huge commitment, so simply mentally preparing for this will be greatly beneficial. Reading the class syllabus, checking out any assignments that may have been released and skimming through the content is another way to prepare. By doing this, you’ll already have an idea of what you’re going to be covering. During the first week of a new session, you’ll be overwhelmed with a lot of changes. Mental preparation is one of the best ways to stay ahead!
This may seem obvious, but you need to take care of yourself. If you haven’t already, get a flu shot. What’s worse than getting the flu during February and spending a few weeks holed up sneezing nonstop and living on chicken noodle soup? You should also get a physical just to make sure your body is in tip-top shape. It’s often difficult to schedule an appointment in between classes during a session. Save yourself the hassle and take care of it before classes begin.
Start a Facebook group chat with your new roomies. It’s best for everyone. Figure out who’s got cleaning items, who can bring a microwave, and who’s got the portable fridge. Make sure that you divide all the necessary items you’ll need so that everyone is putting forth their fair share. After all, there’s nothing much worse than having one person provide everything while others freeload. Of course, make sure you just get to know each other before the session begins!
As summer draws to a close, start making sure that you’re getting back into a daily rhythm. At some point, the late nights will have to slow down and you'll have to start getting used to waking up at 7 a.m. for an 8 a.m. class. Make sure to also create some goals. Consider using the SMART goal format: having specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals. This way you can look back in a few months and not just say, "Did I do better in school?” Instead, ask, “Did I go to the gym three times a week and get higher than a B+ in two out of four of my classes?"
These are just a few of the many tips that Upper Iowa University faculty and staff have to offer. With some time and practice, you'll figure out what's best for you. If you’ll be joining us on Campus next session, we can’t wait to see you! Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us with any questions by calling 800-553-4150. We’d love to hear from you!